With the summer holidays in full swing, making sure your child has a fun and enjoyable break is likely to be on your mind. For families, the summer is often an extremely busy time, with kids off school, parents still working and holidays and day trips to be organised. We understand that juggling responsibilities and managing your time all whilst doing the best for your child can be challenging.
Thankfully, there are a whole range of activities and events for children and young people across the South West over the summer period. Whilst you take a deserved break from caring responsibilities, make the most of the opportunities for your child to form new friendships, socialise, develop their independence and most importantly, enjoy themselves!
Read on to discover what’s on this summer, from our Play sessions to Out & About – there’s something for everyone!
A break for everyone
You want your children to have an exciting summer to look forward to. It is a time for memories to be made, to relax, have a holiday and spend time outdoors and with family and friends. But remember that it is important for parents and carers to take a break too, so that you can stay energised and spend more quality time with your children.
Finding summer activities that are accessible, inclusive and cater to the specific needs of your child can seem difficult. With 80% of parents of a child with a learning disability struggling to access support services during the school summer holidays, we understand that planning this time and knowing where to go can be tricky. But, you are not alone, and there are a wide range of inclusive spaces where parents and families will be supported over these weeks. Join a community of other families like you, and develop friendships and support groups to make the holidays run as smoothly as possible.
These events and activities can give you time for yourself, away from caring responsibilities to focus on things that are important to you, or allow you to enjoy playing with your child alongside other families – either way, take a break from everyday life this summer.
Here at WECIL we offer a range of activities and events for Disabled and SEND children and young people and their families. Our PLAY sessions for children up to 12 years old and their siblings provide family activities at regular drop off sessions. These include venue based activities, as well as trips out and about to places like the cinema and zoo. Your child will have fun, try new things, meet new people and develop their independence, all whilst you have some time off for yourself knowing that they are in expert hands. We aim to provide a range of accessible activities, and the sessions are free but booking is essential, especially over the busy summer months.
Our Youth sessions are for young people up to 19 years old, and we offer a range of groups across Bristol in Hillfields, Knowle and Southmead. We offer regular evening and Saturday sessions for young people to build positive relationships with themselves and each other whilst having fun. In the summer, some of these groups run monthly trips to places like Wild Place, Hengrove swimming pool or bowling. Other activities we have run as part of our Youth sessions include visits to other cities, music and drama workshops, trampoline parks and even white water rafting!
WECIL were also recently part of an inclusive sports day through our Out & About services, which was a huge success. This was the biggest disability sport event in Bristol, and gave the Disabled community the chance to try out new sports and activities that they might not have been able to before, including yoga, wrestling, fencing and skateboarding. The event saw a network of groups and organisations in Bristol get together and Lizzie Edgecombe, Senior Development Manager said “this event is a fantastic example of what can be achieved when working together. There are lots of wonderful groups out there offering inclusive opportunities, but we need to make it easier for disabled people to find these sessions and feel confident to take part’. The success of events like this shows just how important it is for Disabled children and young people to be able to try new things in a supportive environment!
In collaboration with other organisations, at WECIL we also run specific sessions for BAME, neurodivergent, sensory impaired and complex needs children and young people. Check out our website for more information.
Other events and activities
There are also a whole host of other amazing organisations that put on accessible events and activities for children and young people over the summer. No matter your child’s age, interest or hobbies, there is something for everyone – take a look at what’s on offer here!
- Your Holiday Hub offers funded holiday clubs and activities across Bristol for those who receive benefits-related free school meals.
- Access sport and Ignite Bristol, who ran the inclusive sports day, believe that no one should be excluded from the transformational benefits of community sport. They help train, equip and support community sports clubs, organisations and volunteers to provide inclusive programmes. Get in contact with them to find out about inclusive holiday sessions near you!
- Bikeability offer cycling courses to equip children to cycle on the roads safely and confidently. Find cycle training courses near you and speak to them about accessible training.
- Into the Wild offers inclusive sensory forest school sessions for all children aged 7 to 14, including those with autism (ASC) or sensory processing disorder. Held in amongst 20 acres of woodland, get out and about in nature to enjoy the British summer time!
- Autism friendly cinema screenings at various cinemas show relaxed and sensory-friendly screenings of family and children’s films. Adjustments include low lighting and sound, as well as autism awareness trained staff so your child can get the most out of their experience at the cinema!
- Nova Sports and Coaching provide opportunities for fun, inclusive sports activity during the holidays, such as wheelchair basketball and tennis.
- Children’s Scrapstore host a variety of creative events for children and families.
- Everybody Moves host online accessible workouts to stay active, as well as a directory of accessible sports activities and clubs near you
Every child and family deserves a summer filled with joy, growth and memories. By making the most of the resources and support available to you, your summer too can be stress free.
To get involved or find out more about WECIL’s summer holiday activities for Disabled and SEND children and young people, please get in touch!